One thumb up

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Bear Butte, South Dakota. Photo by Steve Martaindale

Let’s show a little love for bad movies.

Not every bad movie’s for everyone, mind you. We each have our own bad movies we love … or at least like … or at the very least endure and enjoy making fun of.

For example, the lowest-rated movie on my IMDb list of more than 1,500 films, is a 2013 made-for-TV piece of work titled, “Chupacabra vs. the Alamo.” Here’s something I wrote about it back then:

“One doesn’t expect much from such a genre, but this achieved new lows. The acting was so poor, Erik Estrada looked talented. The writing was lame. Facts (such as they are in science fiction) were terrible. For example, the opening scene took place on the Texas / Mexico border “southeast of San Antonio.” Did nobody associated with the movie think to look at a map? Of course, they also seemed to present that San Antonio was on the border because the chupacabras crossed the border and instantly appeared in the Alamo City. Another scene was set ‘80 miles from San Antonio,’ but it was a jungle environment. Anyone half-familiar with Texas knows better. Special effects were grade-school level. Estrada posed on a motorcycle in front of a green screen. The monsters were no better than Mr. Bill on an old -Saturday Night Live’ skit. Still, I might have left the movie at two stars because I don’t want to appear mean. But, then (SPOILER ALERT) they blew up the Alamo! Yes, they shot up, defiled and then blew up the Alamo. My Texas blood boiled and my rating dropped to one star, only because there’s no such thing as zero stars.”

To this day, I’ve only assigned one-star (out of 10) to three movies. The other two were a 2005 made-for-TV remake of “The Poseidon Adventure” (which, I wrote, “was such a miserable excuse for trying to make a buck off someone else’s success, I hope Shelley Winters hunted them down and kicked their collective butts before she died the following year”) and 2012 “Bigfoot,” which starred Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams long after they had outgrown their child-actor levels of cuteness.

These are bad movies I do NOT love, but someone does. The Chupacabra film has a 3.2-star rating and 23.4 percent of voters joined me in giving it only one star. However, 7.5 percent gave it 10 stars. The other two were similar.

Conditional goodness

What prompted these thoughts was a 2017 film, “Taking Earth,” which my wife chose to watch Saturday. The IMDb user rating on it was a measly 2.6 and we early saw why. However, I started looking into its information.

It was filmed in South Africa, not exactly a hotspot for big movies. In fact, the estimated budget was only $250,000 U.S. For comparison’s sake, Chupacabra had an estimated budget 8 times as large and Poseidon’s was 56 times as much, and that was more than a decade earlier.

OK, I have to respect that.

Then I started looking at the cast. IMDb lists 56 different actors and the film listed a large number of extras. I went through every one listed on IMDb and found only two that had any movie credits in addition to “Taking Earth” and each of them had only one other. Only one of the 56 had a photo attached to his profile and that was because he had been a professional hockey player. Additionally, considering the film’s tiny budget, one has to assume most of the actors received a pittance in pay if anything at all.

Grant Humphreys was the film’s director – as well as a writer, editor, producer and much more – and this movie was the only credit he had listed. The same was true for others listed at the top of the credits. The only two exceptions I found were the music composer and the guy who operated the aerial octocopter drone.

So, we essentially have a movie produced by the local community theater.

Eventually, I was looking at the movie as a personal project for these many, many people, perhaps even a labor of love. They did not have the experience or training to do a blockbuster film, not to mention the funds and equipment.

Taking all of that into consideration, it rose from a two-star rating to …

Five stars! Hey, there’s no need to go crazy here.

Share with us some of your favorite so-bad-they’re-good movies.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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